Hello, good morning, and Merry Christmas (Eve) to everyone who celebrates the holiday, directly or indirectly. Considering how pervasive it’s become, and how pervasive Christendom was and is, I imagine there aren’t too many places—in the western world, at least—that don’t have at least some peripheral awareness of Christmas. Though it is interesting how the celebration has evolved in places that don’t have historical religious associations with it. Based on my consumption of manga and anime, I get the impression that, in Japan, Christmas is more of a romantic, couple’s holiday than anything else*. I have to say, I can understand that interpretation; some of my most vivid Christmas memories from my teenage years carry that feeling. The lights and the snow and the music, as well as the associations with huddling together against the cold are all quite evocative.
Though, of course, living in south Florida as I do, snow is no longer relevant to this time of year. I even wrote and posted parody lyrics of “White Christmas” on this blog before, focused on that fact. Here’s the link, so I don’t need to include a copy of the words. There’s nothing particularly clever about them, they’re just sort of ironic but celebratory about warm weather. It’s refreshing, at least at first, to have warm weather in the wintertime, especially after having grown up in Michigan (and then living in upstate New York and Chicago and then New York City).
Of course, in Judea of two-thousand years ago I doubt they had snow around this time of year.
There are those who (as I have below), in the spirit of “The Big Bang Theory”**, spread memes of Merry Newtonmas at this time of year, since Isaac Newton was born on December 25th, while Jesus almost certainly was not***. But Isaac Newton’s birthday was measured on the then-ascendant Julian calendar, so it wouldn’t have coincided with what we now call December 25th using the updated Gregorian calendar. I could look up what his birthday would have been had the Gregorian calendar already been in use, but I can’t be arsed to do it. Anyway, Newton probably was born closer to the time of the Solstice than was Yehoshua ben Yosef****.
All these things are trivia, admittedly. But, after all, in the spirit of Ecclesiastes, “all is vanity,” which could be rendered as “all is trivial”. And I like trivia, so…I guess it’s okay for me just to go with it.
Less trivial to me by far is the fact that the editing of The Vagabond is proceeding well. It’s quite rewarding and satisfying to be able to make such rapid progress on it after having done Unanimity. I love Unanimity, of course, and I’m very proud of it. But, my oh, it was an immense labor. In contrast, The Vagabond, while not to be released this year, will likely be available for publication in the earlyish part of 2021. Perhaps you’ll be able to read it while you wait in line to get your Covid vaccination!
I’ve done a few posts recently on Iterations of Zero, which is a welcome change. I decided to go with the idea of writing them on my smartphone, and so far, I think it’s working pretty well. I did, after all, write a significant part of Son of Man on the smartphone I had at the time, and it was a much smaller, and thus less wieldy, device to use.
I have also released the “commercial” version of my song Breaking Me Down, which I embedded on my last IoZ post. By “commercial” I mean that, if you listen to the song (or watch the “video” on YouTube), I make a tiny bit of money from it. It’s also on Spotify and on iTunes (though I do not yet have the links) and supposedly on a whole slew of other social media and music sites, most of which I hadn’t even heard of let alone seen. If you’re on any of those, and you’re interested, just search for the title, and my name, and it should come up. It’s not a Christmas song, of course, and it’s not exactly a happy song, but it has a good beat, and I’m told the melody is good (I’m too biased to be able to judge), and it even includes some borderline decent guitar playing. I like/am proud of the lyrics, but they are rather gloomy, I’ll admit. They’re cleverer than my “Green Christmas” parody, at least.
And with that, I think I’ll wrap it up for this week. I wish you all the very best of the holiday season, no matter what holidays you may or may not celebrate. As Bill and Ted said, “Be excellent to each other.” As simple advice goes, that’s hard to beat. I suspect that Jesus would agree.
*And people there apparently like to eat KFC(!) for Christmas dinner (thanks to some very impressive marketing).
**The show, not the actual cosmology theory.
***It’s my understanding that the early Christian church appropriated the date from the festival of Saturnalia and similar related and pervasive solstice celebrations. Of course, given the current “conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn, and some of the amazing photos circulating online of it, it’s not inappropriate to think of Saturn now.
****Of course, if you believe in the literal truth of the story, then a more appropriate Hebrew-ish version of his name would have been Yehoshua ben YHWH. But that’s hard to say.